Rakdos Aggro AKA Darker Horse

Bans, Burn, and the Dark Horse

To set the stage for the third Aether Revolt brew we first need to know where it started. It started with a fringe standard deck that in my opinion didn’t get the love it deserved. RB aggro/burn, a very good deck in the Kaladesh standard that won me a PPTQ and flew way under the radar leading me to give it the appropriate name of Dark Horse. (Full 75 here)

The deck is extremely consistent with plenty of burn spells to send to the face after an opponent has stabilized the board and thinks they are safe.  Plus it has one of my favorite sideboards in a while, especially in the known deck quantity that was Kaladesh standard.  Every game 2 and 3 we board out what we use to win game one, 4 Bomat Courier, 2 Key to the City, 2 Fleetwheel Cruiser, and 1 Scrapheap Scrounger.

Then we always board in 1 Smoldering Marsh and the 2 Goblin Dark-Dwellers.

If we are against GB Delirium we also bring in 3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance and 3 Transgress.


Against UW Flash or Vehicles we bring in 2 Kalitas and the 4 Galvanic Bombardments.

That’s it’s only two ways to board, both of which do exactly what we want them to do, close the game with a “W”.  Postboard more times than not we just play burn, push through some damage early with a few aggressive creatures and copter and then throw spells at the face.  And it worked.  However, while this deck some some sweet imprivements from Aether Revolt, we lose Smuggler’s Copter to the ban hammer.  While I knew how power Copter is and am not surprised by the ban, it is upsetting when it affects my deck.  So where does this deck go from here you may ask?  May I present to you the new version, Darker Horse (Full 75 here).

Honestly not a whole lot changed, especially in the sideboard., which still feels clean and efficient.  The biggest change is Heart of Kiran in Smuggler’s Copter’s place.


Only 3 copies are used because it is a legendary on top of being harder to crew.  Also with no Copter, Fiery Temper loses value with less ways to madness it.  We still have Key to the City but that still gets boarded out in most games.  However, we still want to be able to throw 3 damage to the face and we don’t want to be all in on Shock as 3 toughness is still very relevant for when we must control creatures.  The Big boon to the deck came in an uncommon, Weldfast Engineer.

Weldfast Engineer was a card that as soon as it was spoiled I knew it belonged in this deck.  Mostly because of the way it curves with Heart of Kiran.  It comes down perfectly on turn 3 to crew Heart and then makes it hit for 6.  Also, being able to buff the weakest creature to make spot removal awkward is very nice.  A 3/1 Bomat Courier hits hard and still cycles away hands typically drawing us 4-5 cards.  Also, just pumping thopters produced by Pia Nalaar makes 3 damage a much more common occurrence.  This deck still rocks plenty of burn to head upstairs to just pushing through a little extra damage ensures we can burn our opponents out.  Not to mention the must answer threat that is a 7/3 trampling Fleetwheel Cruiser.

So this is the deck I will be busting out week one.  An aggressive deck that ends games with burn spells to the face.  Aggro plus reach and a proven sideboarding strategy is exactly where one wants to be in a fresh format.


– Alex S.